CLASSICAL STUDIES 644

PLATO'S  PHAEDRUS 

 

Professor Radcliffe G. Edmonds III

Office: Thomas 245

Office Phone: 526-5046

redmonds@brynmawr.edu

Canaday 311

W1:00-4:00

Office Hours: T 1-2, F 1-3

or by appointment

 

Required Texts:  

Plato, Opera:Vol. II, Burnet, John , Ed. (OCT)

Carson, Anne, Eros the Bittersweet

Ferrari, G., Listening to the Cicadas

Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus

 

Course Description:   

            Plato’s dialogues all prompt questions about how to read and understand the complex interchanges between the interlocutors, but no dialogue presents these issues as prominently or paradoxically as the Phaedrus.  In their rhetorical speeches on love, Phaedrus speaks for Lysias, while Socrates speaks for Phaedrus or for the nymphs or for Stesichorus.  And for whom does Plato speak, or rather, write? And what does he mean when he writes for Socrates the speech that no one serious would ever put anything serious in writing?

            In this seminar, we will explore the ideas of speech and writing, dialogue and rhetoric, philosophy and eros in the Phaedrus.  In addition to a close reading of the text itself, we will sample from the scholarly debates over the understanding and interpretation of the Phaedrus that have gone on over the past two and a half millenia of reading Plato’s Phaedrus.

 

Course Requirements:

Class participation: 

            Each week's assignment will include readings from both the Phaedrus and some secondary interpretations.  The first part of the seminar each week will consist of a close reading of the ancient Greek text, with attention to Plato's choice of words and images.  Every student is expected to be prepared to translate from the selection designated for the week.  The second part will involve discussion about the interpretation of the text, using the secondary readings as a springboard for discussion.  One student will be assigned to write and present a short reaction for each of the secondary readings for the week.  Such reactions should consist, not of a summary of the selection, but rather of points of agreement and disagreement and of questions for further discussion.  Every student is expected to contribute actively to the discussion of the readings.

            The readings not in the required textbooks will be available on electronic reserves.  Electronic reserves are accessible either directly from the library's reserve site (http://trires.brynmawr.edu/coursepage.asp?cid=994) or indirectly through a link from the online version of the syllabus (http://www.brynmawr.edu/classics/redmonds/grek64403.html). 

 

Written Assignments: 

            In addition to the brief reactions to the readings, there will be one long (around 25 pages) final paper for the course.  Each student should select a topic in consultation with the professor before the middle of the term, and a rough outline and preliminary bibliography should be handed in by the end of the first week after spring break.  Every student will present a short version of the project in the final weeks of the term, and the final version of the paper will be due before the end of the finals period.  Students are encouraged to submit rough drafts for comments before the end of classes.

 

Schedule of Readings:

 

January 22 Introduction

Readings:

·      Phaedrus in English

·      Guthrie, W.K.C., "The Phaedrus," in A History of Greek Philosophy vol. IV – Plato:  the man and his dialogues, earlier period, Cambridge, 1975, pp. 396-433.

·      Nussbaum, Martha, "This Story Isn't True:  Madness, Reason, and Recantation in the Phaedrus,"  in The Fragility of Goodness:  Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy, Cambridge, 1986, pp. 200-234.

·      Press, Gerald, "Principles of Dramatic and Non-Dogmatic Plato Interpretation," Plato's Dialogues:  New Studies & Interpretations, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. USA, 1993, pp. 107-128.

 

January 29 227a-230e

Readings:

·      Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus, Intro & Ch.1

·      Schleiermacher, "Introduction to the Phaedrus," trans. Dobson, Cambridge, 1836, pp. 48-83.

·      Nehamas, Alexander, and Paul Woodruff, Plato:  Phaedrus, translated with an introduction, Hackett, 1995.

·      Hackforth, R., Plato's Phaedrus, Cambridge, 1952.

·      Palaephatus (handout)

 

February 5  230e-235b

Readings:

·      Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus, Ch.2

·      Adkins, Arthur W. H., "The 'Speech of Lysias' in Plato's Phaedrus,"  in The Greeks and us : essays in honor of Arthur W.H. Adkins, edited by Robert B. Louden, Paul Schollmeier, 1996, pp. 224-240.

·      Nussbaum, Martha, "Platonic Love and Colorado Law,"  in The Greeks and us : essays in honor of Arthur W.H. Adkins, edited by Robert B. Louden, Paul Schollmeier, 1996, pp. 168- 223 (including a response by Posner).

·      Wishart D. ; Leach S. V., "A multivariate analysis of Platonic prose rhythm," Computer Studies in the Humanities and Verbal Behavior III 1970, pp. 90-99.

 

February 12 235b- 237b

Readings:

·      Carson, Anne, Eros the Bittersweet

·      Foley, Helene P., "'The Mother of the Argument': Eros and the Body in Sappho and Plato's Phaedrus," in Parchments of gender : deciphering the bodies of antiquity, ed. Maria Wyke, Oxford, 1998, pp. 39-70.

·      Greek Lyric Poets (handout): Sappho, Anacreon, Ibycus

 

February 19 237b-245c

Readings:

·      Apuleius, "On the God of Socrates," in The Works of Apuleius, trans. Hudson Gurney, H. G. Bohn, 1853, pp. 350-373.

·      Connor, W. R., "Seized by the Nymphs:  Nympholepsy and Symbolic Expression in Classical Greece," Classical Antiquity 7.2 988, pp. 155-189.

·      Demos, Marian, "Stesichorus' Palinode in Plato's Phaedrus," in Lyric quotation in Plato, Rowman & Littlefield, 1999, pp. 65-86.

·      Linforth, I. "Telestic Madness in Plato, Phaedrus 244d-e," University of California Publications in Classical Philology 13 (1946), pp. 163-72.

·      Maximus, "Philosophical Orations 8 & 9" in Maximus of Tyre, ed. & trans. Trapp, Oxford, 1997, 69-83.

·      Woodruff, Paul, ed., "Socrates and His Daimonion:  Correspondence among the Authors," in Reason & Religion in Socratic Philosophy, ed. Smith & Woodruff, Oxford, 2000, pp. 176-204.

 

February 26 245c-249d

Readings:

·      Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus, Ch.3

·      Bett, Richard, "Immortality and  the Nature of the Soul in the Phaedrus," in Plato, ed. Gail Fine, Oxford, 2000, pp. 907-932.

·      Ficino, Marsilio, "Commentarium in Phedrum", trans. Allen, in Allen, Michael, Marsilio Ficino and the Phaedran Charioteer, University of California Press,  1981, pp. 72-129.

·      Plotinus (handout)

·      Proclus, The Platonic Theology (4.1-26), trans. Taylor, Selene Books, 1986 (reprint of 1816), vol. II, pp. 223-280.

 

March 5 249d-253c

Readings:

·      Halperin, David, "Plato and erotic reciprocity," Classical Antiquity,V 1986, pp.60-80. 

·      Halperin, David, "Plato and the metaphysics of desire," Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium on Philosophy, vol. V (1989), ed. John Cleary and Daniel Shartin, pp. 27-52.

·      Kosman, L.A., "Platonic Love," in Facets of Plato's Philosophy, ed. W.H. Werkmeister, Van Gorcum: Assen/Amsterdam, 1976, pp.53-69.

·      Nussbaum, Martha, "Commentary on Halperin,"  Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium on Philosophy, vol. V (1989), ed. John Cleary and Daniel Shartin, pp. 53-72.

·      Price, A., "Psychoanalysis Looks at the Phaedrus," in Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle, Oxford, 1989, pp. 215-222.

·      Vlastos, Gregory, "The Individual as an Object of Love in Plato," in Platonic Studies 2nd ed., Princeton, 1981, pp. 3-34.

 

 

March 10 - 14 - spring break

 

 

March 19 253c-257b

Readings:

·      Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus, Ch.4

·      Lebeck, Anne, "The Central Myth of the Phaedrus," GRBS 13, 1972, 267-90.

·      Morgan, Kathryn," Plato: Myth and the Soul," in Myth & Philosophy from the Presocratics to Plato, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 185-241.

·      Stewart, J. A., "Observations on the Phaedrus Myth," in The Myths of Plato, MacMillan, 1905, pp. 336-395.

 

March 26 257b-261d

Readings:

·      Ferrari, G., Listening to the Cicadas

·      Gottfried, Bruce, "Pan, the Cicadas, and Plato's Use of Myth in the Phaedrus," in Plato's Dialogues:  New Studies & Interpretations, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. USA, 1993, pp. 179 196.

·      Gorgias' Helen and Palamedes (handout)

 

April 2 261d-265a

Readings:

·      Ferrari, G., Listening to the Cicadas

·      Heath, Malcolm, "The Unity of Plato's Phaedrus," Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy VII 1989, pp. 151-201 (includes response by Rowe and counter response by Heath).

 

April 9 265a-271a

Readings:

·      Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus, Ch.5

·      Brisson, Luc, "L'unité du Phédre de Platon.  Rhétorique et philosophie dans le Phédre," in Understanding the Phaedrus, ed. Rossetti, Academia Verlag Sankt Augustin, 1992, pp. 61-76.

·      Plato, Statesman

·      Moravscik, J. and S. Cohen, "Plato's Method of Division," in Patterns in Plato's Thought, ed. Moravscik, D. Reidel, 1973, pp. 158-191.

 

April 16 271a-274b

Readings:

·      Batstone, William B., "Commentary on Cooper: Oratory, Philosphy, and the Common World," Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy 1 1986, ed. Cleary, pp.97-113.

·      Cooper, John M., "Plato, Isocrates and Cicero on the Independence of Oratory from Philosophy," Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium on Ancient Philosophy 1 1986, ed. Cleary, pp. 77-96.

·      Isocrates ad Nico., ad Demon. (handout)

 

April 23 274b-279c

Readings:

·      Griswold, Charles L., Jr., Self-Knowledge in Plato's Phaedrus, Ch.6 & Epilogue

·      Plato's 7th letter

·      Clay, Diskin, "Socrates' Prayer to Pan," in Arktouros, ed. Bowersock, Burkert, Putnam, Walter de Gruyter, 1979, pp. 345-353.

·      Derrida, Jacques, "Plato's Pharmacy," in Dissemination, trans. Johnson, University of Chicago, 1981, pp. 61-172.

·      Gerson, Lloyd, "Plato Absconditus," in Who speaks for Plato?  Studies in Platonic Anonymity, ed. Gerald A. Press, Rowman & Littlefield, USA, 2000, pp. 201-210.

·      Desjardins, Rosemary, "Why dialogues? Plato's Serious Play," Platonic Writings, Platonic Readings, ed. Charles Griswold, Routledge: New York, 1988, pp. 110-125.

·      Nightingale, Andrea, "Alien & Authentic Discourse," in Genres In Dialogue:  Plato and the Construct of Philosophy, Cambridge, 1995, pp. 133-171.

 

April 30 Final presentations and Conclusions